Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

One of our pizza favorites is bacon cheeseburger. While it is so much better from GodFather’s, we still make it at home anyway. :)

It’s as simple as hamburger, real bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and once it’s cooked we put the pickles on it. I like it better than when they are baked in it.

Once again it’s another way to get out of the same old funk of the basic home made pizza’s. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

random thoughts by stephanie, v4

This is what happens when I sit here late at night with nothing really to do.

We got a "new" DVD player. I quote that because it's not new today, but new in a sense.

Anyway....There is a red light that turns on, on the front of the dvd player. TJ told me that you know the dvd player is OFF when the light is ON. I think that is weird.

And it confused me because when I go to shut everything off, by everything I mean, the TV, the DISH box, and the Stereo Surround, there's always that one light left on, and I think I have to shut it off, but is off.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken

I found yet another stir-fry chicken recipe. Funny how something can be so similar, yet so different. This time instead of sweet and sour it's Sweet and Spicy. TJ gave this meal an 8 out of 10 and said that he liked it better than all of the other chicken stir fry's that I usually make. I liked it too!

Sweet & Spicy Chicken

1 lb chicken cooked and cubed
1 Tbsp oil
3 cups mixed veggies
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup Kraft Catalina dressing
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 tsp crushed pepper

Cook chicken in oil and chop up. Add veggies and simmer 5-6 minutes. Mix rest of ingredients and add to the pan. Simmer 5 minutes more. Serve over rice.

I couldn't find catalina dressing in any other brand than Kraft. And the Hoisin sauce was in with the Asian sauces.


TJ got me an Ipod Touch about 3 years ago. Sometimes I think he got it for himself, because he likes to steal it from me. :) But that's not the point of this story. :)

Since it is a Touch....there are many more features than just listening to music. I use it for the internet, facebook, the blog, email, looking up addresses, and mapping out directions when going somewhere, I play games on it when we are traveling in the car, we look up information while we're on the road trying to find something, I take notes, and have a Bible application that I use during at church, I can put movies on it. I watch them on there sometimes when in the car, and I watched a few movies when on the airplane too. So you can see many different features, and the music feature is really the thing I use it for the least. I couldn't remember the last time I actually used it for listening to music. Until the other day.

Here I was down stairs going through the closet under the stairs and thinking to myself, I wish I could listen to music while I was doing this. But I don't want to turn the Satellite radio on because then it might be too loud for the boys while they are napping. Hmmmm...I guess I'll just go without. Or wait....I have an Ipod don't I?! I guess the main purpose for that thing is to listen to music. *DER. Maybe I should try that! ha. Wouldn't you know, it worked like a charm. What a deal! :)

*DER is my language for Duh.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hand Project

A long time ago I had this idea that I wanted to put the boys hand prints in clay/cement whatever will make a mold. I found this stuff at target that was an individual pack. It was a soft clay like material. (which kinda smelled like soap). It was almost hard to make their hand print in it because it wasn’t the most impressionable material. I had to press their hand in there pretty hard to get it to show. And it took quite a while to completely dry. But in the end, it’s nice because it’s a softer/lighter material, you can purposely throw it to the ground and it won’t break because of how soft it is. At first I wanted to put their name and date of the adoption finalization in it, but when we got this pack, it was so small, it wasn’t quite like the big cement block circles that I had envisioned with the extra space around the hand to put that info on there. So I just wrote their names on there with marker after I painted it. Now I think I’m just going to use them to put on the tree at Christmas time of the ages/size of their hands when we adopted them.

Such a bummer when you have something that you think is a really good idea, and then it doesn’t turn out quite like you really had planned. Oh well. Such is life. It’s still cute.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


So I was thinking back to the very few memories I have of my childhood. :) I remember going to my Great Aunt Meta's house and she always had scones, and we'd cut them in half and put jelly on them. YUM! Brings me back. So I found a recipe for those online.


2 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking
powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a small measuring cup combine the whipping cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix.

Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round. Then, using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream. This helps to brown the tops of the scones during baking. ( I did not have this size of a cookie cutter so I used one of my drinking glasses.)

Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kit Kat Bars

First of all, I've got to say, these don't really taste like kit kat bars it's just the idea of the layers that's like a kit kat bar. However, they are good. :) If there was one thing I would edit it would be the amount of topping. The Chocolate topping is really thick, and I think it would still be just as good, with only half that amount.

Kit Kat Bars
1 box club crackers
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
2 2/3 cups peanut butter

-Line a 9x13 pan with club crackers. Melt in a large saucepan over medium heat, butter, both sugars, milk and graham cracker crumbs. Boil mixture for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Spread 1/2 the mixture onto cracker layer and top with another layer of cub crackers. Spread remaining mixture on top of cracker layer. Arrange another layer of crackers on top of second layer of mixture. Melt in saucepan peanut butter and chocolate and butterscotch chips. Spread this mixture on top of third layer of club crackers. Cool in refrigerator until set.

Southwest Chicken Skillet

I would have posted this last night but I was too engrossed in sorting stamps for 5 or 6 hours! :)

Last night's supper was rated a 7 out of 10. I think. Something like that. Maybe even 8....we all liked it. That I remember. :)

2-3 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 15oz jar of salsa
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sweet green pepper
1/4 cup sliced olives
1 cup minute rice
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Cook cubed chicken in oil until no longer pink. Stir in salsa, chicken broth, chopped sweet pepper and olives (if desired). Bring to boiling. Stir in rice. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand about 5 mintues or until rice is tender.

I didn't have sweet green pepper. In fact I was trying to find it for a different recipe. What's the difference between regular green peppers and where can you find it in the grocery store?

Stamp Collecting

I have a rather large stamp collection. I started collecting when I was a kid and then received the rest from my grandma. I haven't done anything with the collecting since high school and I've had the stuff sitting in my basement in the same spot since we moved in. The other day when I decided to clean out under the stairs, I brought out my box of stamps and decided to go through them. I finished stage one, which is sorting them by face value of the stamp. I have a book from 2002 with the prices of stamps in it. It is am amazing book really. Every stamp ever made is pictured in the book and even though the book is from 2002 it doesn't matter for me because I don't have any stamps newer than that. I don't think I have any stamps newer than 1998 or possibly earlier than that.

So after sorting them all out last night into envelopes according to their face value 1cent 2 cents, 6 cents, etc..., I found a bunch from different countries.

Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Czechoslovakia, Venezula, Rwanda, Mongolia, Ghana, Philipines, Republic of Maldives, Liberia, Dominica, Romania, Spain, India, Armenia, Republic of Dahomey, Congo, Mali, Hungary, Austria, Japan, Finland, Russia, Cote D'Ivoire, Greece, Canada, Burkina Faso, Zaire, Thailand, Yugoslavia, Togo, Argentina, Cyprus, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Israel, Chile, Australia, Zimbabwe, Macau, Senegal, Egypt, Mexico, Costa Rico, Kenya, Ngwane, Switzerland, China, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Iran, Portugal, Turkey, Uruguay, Sweden, France

So....I was beginning to wonder. How in the world does a person get stamps from so many countries?! They don't really look like stamps that he bought from a stamp collector to have in his collection. If so, I would guess he probably would have cared for them a little nicer than hooking them together with paperclips. Just a guess.

And on another many of those countries have you never heard of before? I had to look some of them up because I didn't know where they were.

Lastly, my grandma saved those strips of Christmas stamps that you're supposed to put on the back of your christmas card. There are tons of them, and they all have dates on them. These are the oldest ones I found. The second one down on the left is from 1928! Now that's old. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010


I dust every once in a while. But probably not as much as I should. Especially now that we are home all day and there is more dust flying around. I'm still just not used to having to dust that frequently. When you both work full time and are always gone the dust doesn't really collect that quickly. Now it collects in 1 day it seems like. I know its been long enough that I should be used to dusting, but it's also annoying, so I might not be trying that hard to remember every day. :)

We got a new stand for our T.V. and it is black. Well, that is a terrible color for dust. I can see it much more clearly now than before than before on the brown wooden T.V. stand. So if anything I try to dust that off a lot! Well I must have gone 2 days or something without dusting it, and I went to grab the dusting cloth, and when I get up to the T.V. stand.....drum roll please. It says DUST ME!

Are you kidding me?!?!?

If it wasn't me there is only 1 other person who knows how to write and spell in this house. And I'm pretty sure, that "other" person knows where the dusting mitt is! :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tonight's dinner=Not a winner

I think this is the first new recipe I've made in this adventure that we all did not really care for. Not just me. :) However, maybe you are brave enough to try it and give it your own twist. You might even like it just as it is. I mean, someone had to like it. They put it in a cookbook! :) Good thing I had made snickerdoodles yesterday so we could atleast end the meal on a good note! Yum! Have I mentioned how wonderfully good those little cookies are?! Watch out if you make them though, because they are very addicting. If you eat one, you eat six! Speaking of....I'm going to have another one, or two. :)

Pasta & Peas Au Gratin

9 oz refrigerated cheese filled tortellini
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup halfandhalf or milk
1 14oz can diced tomatoes with garlic and spices
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan

In a large saucepan cook tortellini or ravioli according to package directions, except add peas for the last 1 minute of cooking. Drain and return pasta mixture to the hot saucepan. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan stir together flour and pepper. Gradually stir in halfandhalf or milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. cook and stir for 1 minute more. Gradually stir in the undrained tomatoes. Pour over pasta. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with parmesan.

If you do end up making this one, let me know how it turns out for you.

Eagles Nest

A friend of ours posted this link to an Eagle Nest.

It's a little patchy....stops and goes, but it's really neat to see the eagles up close. Watch them fly off, and come back, and move around. When they move around you can see the eggs they are protecting.

We watched them every once in awhile yesterday and every time saw the same bird there. But then today when we turned it on we saw both of them.

The kids think it's great!

So thanks for the link Karen. I hope others of you will find it interesting as well.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Italian Calzones

This is not a new recipe for me, but it almost seems like it because it's been quite a long time since I made it last. The recipe says you can use the refridgerated pizza dough, and I have done that before, but this time I decided to make my own dough. This is the same recipe for dough that I just posted a couple days ago.

Italian Calzones

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb turkey italian sausage
1/2 cup green pepper
1 jar pizza sauce
1 garlic clove
2 pkgs. pizza crust dough (I used homemade dough)
1 bag mozz
1/4 cup parmesan

Cook sausage with chopped onion. Combine pizza sauce with chopped pepper, sliced olives, garlic and sausage mixture. Roll the dough to fill a jelly roll pan size. Sprinkle cheese over dough to make 2 lengthwise rows, leaving a 1 1/2" space between rows. Scoop the filing mixture evenly over both rows of cheese.
I rolled out my first ball of dough to fit the pan, and then folded it in half and put it on the counter. Then rolled out the next one to fit the pan. That way my top dough was the perfect size and shape of the pan to cover the bottom crust.

Cut down the middle with a pizza cutter. Pinch down the edges and center. Cut slits in the top to vent. Bake at 400 for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

TJ's rating for this is 8 out of 10.

Easter craft decorations

I made these a few years ago. I get them out before Easter every year as part of my 4 Easter decorations. :) I should really get more Easter Decorations, but they don't usually sit out very long. So I'd feel wasteful if I had a bunch since they only sit out for approximately 2 weeks.

It’s a simple idea that anyone can do. I found the little pots, like a plant pot, and the wooden eggs at Michaels, or Hobby Lobby. Then painted them. I did 2 as chickens, and the others I did random designs. You should give it a try.

up close view of wooden egg and pot

up close view put together. Just a word of advice, store them separately. The first year I stored them together just wrapped them up and that is why there is a little bit of a line around the egg. The wood must have expanded a little and got stuck to the pot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

Tonight I made chicken fajitas. My sister told me about the tortilla flour, and we had it at her house first. It is so much better than the store bought tortillas. Yum.

So first, you have to have the tortilla flour, it is not just regular flour. 2 cups flour with 1/2 cup water. Then roll it out in small very thin sections. Doesn't end up being a nice perfect circle, though. Unless I decided to invest in a thing made for that specifically.

When I'm rolling them out I just hang them over the edge of the bowl until I'm done rolling them all out. It's easier to just roll in one step and then fry them in the other step.

So them you put them on a hot pan....only about 20 seconds on each side.

Cook the chicken with pepper and onion, and seasonings. I usually use Lawry's, garlic pepper and Mrs. Dash.

Serve with tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, cheese, and whatever else you want.

So yummy!

Counter Top Collections

One day for my facebook status, I said something like.... “Dear counter top, why are you always full of stuff? Is there some sort of magnetic pull for papers and crap that no matter how many times I clean you off you always have stuff sitting on you?”

I thought this was witty. I was being comical, and serious at the same time. Don’t you get annoyed with the constant crap sitting on the counter tops? If you don’t have this problem than you need to share the success story because I know there are lots of us dealing with the same issue.

But incase you missed it, the best response I got to this “status” from one friend was, In my next house I am going to make the counter tops be slanted so that nothing can possibly stay on it.

Now that’s funny!


When you look at your fridge, do you see a fridge, or papers and magnets and stuff?

I have a lot of things on my fridge. Every once in a while I try taking it all off and then rearranging it, hoping that once I’m done there will be less on it, but that doesn’t usually work. I guess I just like having things on my fridge.

That’s all there is to it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mexican Burrito Hotdish

Mexican Burrito Hotdish

1 lb hamburger
green pepper
1 1/2 cups minute rice
2 small cans diced tomatoes
1 can chili beans or kidney beans
cheddar cheese

Cook hamburger with green pepper. Layer in a dish...rice, tomatoes, beans, hamburger, cheese. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Pepperoni Pockets

Pepperoni Pockets

I think I mentioned these one other time but didn't give the recipe for them. So, we had them again for lunch today, so I made sure to take pictures and now am going to post the recipe for you all to enjoy.

first I make the dough....just in my mixer
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
3/4 warm water
1/4 cup oil
Mix together until well kneaded together.
Pull apart into 1" sections. Roll out flat in a rectangle shape. Top with 5-6 pepperoni's mozz cheese, a little garlic salt and I throw a dash of cheddar on there for extra flavor.

Fold the other side over to close the pocket up and pinch the edges shut.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Until golden brown to your liking. We like to dip it in pizza sauce while we eat it.

yummy! ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Caramel Corn

For Christmas I got an air popper. Today I made some pop corn, and there were 9 kids here. We had just eaten, so I told them I would make some for them later. I decided to make them caramel corn instead of regular pop corn. A quick and simple fix.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
Melt together over the stove and pour over your popcorn.

I never liked caramel corn when I was growing up. However, my mom made it a very complex way. It was not ready to serve in 5 minutes like this kind. There was something like baking it in a brown paper bag or something for however long....I'm not real sure on the details of how to make that one. I just remember not really ever liking caramel corn. But this one I do like. We got the recipe from some friends. They would use this per 2 bags of microwave popcorn. I use it per 1/2 a cup of fresh popped corn. That would be 1/2 a cup of kernels. Once popped it is like 16 cups of popcorn or something crazy like that. I was shocked the first time I made it thinking it wouldn't be very much.

Candy Hearts

I got this heart shaped mold at MOPS for my birthday. I was kinda thinking, what am I going to do with this? But when my sister and her kids came up, right away one of her kids said, we should melt some chocolate and fill the heart mold. So we decided to do that, but then we also added peanut butter chips into the chocolate for extra flavor.

So first we melted about 1 cup of peanut butter chips and about 1 cup of chocolate chips. Then the kids took turns helping squeeze it into the heart mold.
And the easy kitchen tip is to put the corner of a zip lock baggies into a cup folding the rest of the bag over the edge of the cup to hold it in place. Pour the chocolate or frosting depending on what you are doing, into the baggies. I also use this trick for decorating cakes. Zip it shut and cut the corner off however big or small you want the chocolate to be as it comes out.

Once we were done filling the heart shapes we had left over chocolate so I put wax paper on a pan and made some other random shapes until the chocolate was gone. The kids each told me what shape to make. :)

The finished out of the mold end result. And Bear enjoying it. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Italian Dunkers

2 of my sisters live close by me, and we started a sisters night, about once a month. This week the 3rd sister, who lives in Iowa, came up with her kids since this is their spring break week. Today we decided to do our sisters night with all four of us. So we went out to eat, and came back to my house to watch a movie.

TJ, my wonderful husband, stayed here with all 9 of the children. Our 2, Jamie's 5, and Dana's 2. Nicole's kids stayed home with their dad since one of them is sick anyway. So bless his heart for watching 9 kids while us 4 girls had a sisters night out!

Anyway, I asked him if he could handle slicing bread, putting cheese on it and baking it, for supper tonight. He said, no. I guess I can't blame him since he was already willing to take on watching them all. :) So I made supper quick before we left to go eat. I still made the easy meal so that it wouldn't take a long time.

Italian Dunkers

1 lb hamburger
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 loaf french bread
mozz cheese
cheddar cheese

Cut the bread in less than 1 inch slices. Butter slightly, top with mozz, and sprinkle a little bit of cheddar. Can add garlic salt to bread as well. Bake to crisp the bread and melt the cheese. Dip in spaghetti sauce and meat mixture.

All the kids eating at the dinning room table.

A super enjoyable meal, and really quick and easy. Next time you're in a pinch for time, this is a great meal option!

TJ's standard

Last week I took my mom up to the airport. It happened to be during the supper time that I had to go up and drop her off. So that means that TJ was home with the boys to fend for themselves at supper time. I suppose I could have been the over-acheiving wife and made supper earlier in the day for it to be ready and waiting, but for some reason, I was kinda behind in everything, and almost not ready when my mom got here to leave to take her up there. So that didn't happen.

TJ decided to make something for them all to eat, and it wasn't just sandwiches. Instead it was, what seems to be his standard meal when I am gone. Maybe because it is not my favorite, or maybe because I always forget about it, or maybe because it's super easy, and he Loves it! I don't know. It's something he grew up eating...not from his mom's, but from a friends of the family. When they'd go over after church for get-togethers this was a standard that he grew to love. :)

Spoon Taco

1 lb hamburger
2 cans hormel chili no beans
1 bag fritos
1 bag cheddar
lettuce, tomato, taco sauce, sour cream

Layer 9x13 pan with fritos. Mix hamburger and chili together. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Just to warm it together and melt the cheese. Top with any taco ingredients.

Quick and easy. If TJ can make it, so can you. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Apple Strudel Crisp

I've always had a recipe for Apple Crisp with oatmeal. Well the other day we went to eat at a friends house. They made this "Apple Crisp" for me for dessert since it was right before my birthday. I decided to call it Apple Strudel Crisp because plain apple crisp to me has oatmeal in it. Anyway....It was AWESOME!

5-6 Apples
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted butter

Mix the cut apples with the sugar and cinnamon and line on the bottom of the pan.
Mix the topping together until crumbly. Top the apple layer and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Yummy....possibly the best thing I've eaten all Year!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You know you want to laugh!

Sometimes kids/adults/anyone will say something that just strikes you funny. Either because you're having a laughing moment. Or because you take it out of context and turn it around to mean something else. TJ and I tend to turn some of the things our children say around to mean what it's not meant to mean. I'm going to give a for instance....

Yesterday we went to Target.  Monkey wanted to bring some money with so he could buy something. He only brought $2, so we were looking through the front $1 section. After picking up item after item, and changing his mind a bajillion times, he ended up purchasing a notepad and some bouncy balls. He got the notepad because he's totally into to writing words down. Copying any word he can find and then trying to read it. The bouncy balls he bought came 3 in the pack, and they are painted like a baseball, basketball and soccer ball. Well the rule in our house is....the first day that someone gets something new the other person is not allowed to play with it. Unless that person decides to share, but they can't just take it without asking. So Monkey was trying to be nice he was going to share, but only part of his purchase. Can you guess which thing he was going to share. Well, let me phrase it the way he phrased it.

In the words of Monkey- "Bear, can't touch my notebook because he won't know what to do with it anyway, but he can touch my balls, that's for sure!"

So really?!?! What's your first thought?!?

That's what I thought. :)



Most of the time I don't turn the lights on. I will go as long as possible with the lights off while I'm working in the kitchen or doing other things. Not really on purpose, though.
So when TJ is home, I'll be in the kitchen cooking something and after awhile when it starts getting darker outside, (and then obviously darker in the house). However, I don't really notice because I'm only focused on what I'm doing and not really paying attention to the darkness because my eyes are gradually getting used to it. Then TJ comes in to see what I'm cooking and he turns the light on. Well, obviously after he does that I'm like, Oh Wow...that's what I'm cooking. :) LOL
I could see fine, but obviously it's much easier to see with lighting. But then every once in awhile he says something to me about why I didn't turn the light off?
Well, uh....I didn't turn the light on? So, I guess I don't think about it. I go so often without the light, that I don't think to turn it off when I leave the room because I'm not used to having the light on. During the day that is. I obviously use the lights more standardly when it is completely dark out.
I was just thinking about this because it's kind of an overcast day. But there is enough light to get by with. However if TJ were home he would probably turn a light on.

Oh yes....Frugal Stephanie.
That's what my family says I am. I'd have to agree though. On some areas more than others, however.

Monday, March 15, 2010

2 Cheese Linguine

Tonight we tried Two Cheese Linguine. The cheese sauce was so thick, but it was good. Gotta love cheese. :)

1 pkg 16 oz of Linguine noodles
4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups milk
1 1/2 mozz cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
(4Tbsp lemon juice)
I just realized I forgot to put the lemon juice in it! Bummer. that might change the status of the rating. TJ gave this a 7 out of 10 without the lemon juice. I wonder what it could have been? Hmmmmm....

Cook linguine. In a skillet over low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Combine cheeses, toss with lemon juice. Add to the sauce; stir until cheese beings to melt. Drain linguine; add the cheese sauce and toss to coat.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

House of Bounce

Today we took the boys to the House of Bounce in Rochester. They had a blast! And it helped them get out some much needed cooped up energy from the long winter. They are soooo ready for spring and summer. Me too. I've always loved Summer the best, but now I love it even more.

Going up.  Bear had a hard time going up some of the steep slants. He held up the line a few times. Some kids waited, others pushed him down even further and pushed past him.

Coming down the slide together.

This was one of the steep slides.  Bear like it but usually looked a little terrified on the way down it.

Bear was afraid to do this at first, but after that he made it all the way there and back without falling off.  Monkey did a good job too. I was kinda surprised to see them making it. It's about good balance after all. They fall over just standing up straight! :)

This is one very tired Bear. He was exhausted from all the jumping, and from missing nap time. But it worked out since we wanted to put them to bed early tonight anyway with the time change. Hopefully it keeps them right on schedule tomorrow morning.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Just another day....but

it's my birthday.

Today is the day I was born, (cough, cough) Years ago. Ahh, I remember it like it was just yesterday. Ok maybe not. In fact there are a lot of things I don’t even remember about being a child! I was telling my sister that every year I don’t feel any different, but yet the number gets bigger. So if I don’t ever feel any different, shouldn’t I still feel like I’m 18?!? Well now that wasn’t THAT long ago, but I don’t feel like I’m 18. However I don’t feel like I’m whatever age I am right now. :) haha Oh well, I think age is pretty much meaningless once you are out of high school.

A funny story though, Bear said he wanted to go to the store, and I said well, it's my birthday so I get to pick what we do and then tomorrow, we'll go back to the usual, where I still pick what we do, but that time because I'm the mom! ;)

Thanks for those of you who have already expressed a Happy Birthday to me. I appreciate it. I will blog again before the night is over with the pictures of presents and activities.

Now back to spending time with my family on my birthday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The necessities

There’s something not to desirable about having to buy things that are labeled necessities. Am I right?!? Or is it just me?

Like, socks for instance.

I mean that’s one of those things that just feels like it should always be there. You buy them in a package...yes you wear them most every day; but, it seems like they should just never run out. Right?! When you get to that point where you think, wow my socks all have holes or fading spots or are just gross, you dread the idea of buying more.

At least I do.

First it is, remembering to get them while at the store for everything else. Then there is the never-ending wall of socks. Don’t you just dread looking through that huge wall to find the kind of socks you have “come to love” :) in the last however long you’ve been wearing the same style of socks? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if the same kind of sock is never there and I have to try and find some other brand comparable that will fit and feel the same as the old ones. Oh life’s little dilemmas. :) LOL

If it weren’t for the fact that I wish my socks never wore out, and don’t like spending money on these little necessities when there are more fun things I could be spending my money on, I really should just bulk up, and buy 10 packs of the socks I like. That way I can have the same style of sock for much longer. And it will feel like the never ending drawer of socks.

Oh the weird things I ponder throughout the day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken Corn Chowder

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 or 4 medium red potatoes, 1/2" cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch thyme and cumin
1 14-15oz can cream style corn
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil and butter. Sauté onions, pepper, and diced potatoes for 5 minutes, add garlic.

Stir in flour, broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook over low heat until potatoes are tender.

Stir in cream style corn, chunks of chicken, and cream. Cook on low heat only until heated through and steaming hot (about 5 minutes); do not allow to boil.

TJ gave this recipe an 8 out of 10.

Calorie Count
*260* per bowl (13 oz of soup)

   40- chicken broth
 400- cream style corn
 100- butter
150- olive oil
480- red potatoes 
  20- onion
  25- green pepper
 165- flour 
 400- whipping cream 
*1415* whole batch

(figure how many calories of soup you ate by measuring your ounces and multiplying by 20)


Positive Reward #2

Bear finally reached his first positive reward.

He reached the goal last week, but we didn't have the opportunity to give him his reward until this week. He chose to go out to eat just him and I and get ice cream. At first I was just going to do a big thing of ice cream for supper, but we decided to get some real food first and then have ice cream too! So we went to Culver's.  Bear got a burger, and then some vanilla custard with m&m's on top. He thought it was so cool.

First of all, he thought he was big stuff because we were doing this just for him. Then he thought it was even cooler because it was just him and I while Monkey and Dad stayed home and had supper. Then he was excited to eat out and get ice cream at the end.

It took him longer to reach his reward, but still had a good effect. I think it's working as an extra reward for good behavior. Now we get a new sheet and start over trying to earn 10 stars. Then they get to choose something special for their next reward.

Snow, snow go away....

You know it’s been a long winter when the kids are even ready for the snow to go away.

Kids usually like the snow and welcome it even into April. But the other day Monkey said with real enthusiasm, “Mom, look you can see that the snow is starting to melt, because you can see the lights now!” He was so excited and is very excited to get to ride his bike up and down the driveway and street this spring/summer. (He's talking about the bulb Christmas lights that we had put along the sidewalk. They were totally covered, but now are very clearly showing. Hopefully there's enough snow gone that we can get them out of the ground.)

I guess spring can’t get here soon enough. I love spring because I love seeing the grass for the first time even though it is brown and dead. Then I love seeing that first good rain where you can literally watch the grass turn from brown to green right before your eyes as it rains. Simply amazing.

However, I dislike spring for some of that same reason, but only because the rain, and melting snow make for very muddy messes. And mud splashes on the pants don’t always like to wash out very easily. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I used to read many more books than I do now-a-days. However, before I used to have nothing but time, seeing as, it was just me and TJ and most of the time we worked opposite shifts so we were usually home alone throughout the week. Anyway. I have all these books downstairs. A few that I haven’t read yet, and others that I read more than 6 years ago and I would like to read again. So this past weekend we went down to Iowa. I thought this would be a good time to read a book, in the car. I always feel so confined in the car and need something to do, and feel like I really should make better use of my time. So I grabbed one of my books that I haven’t read for a few years to read again. It was great! I was almost done with it in the 2 1/2 hours down to Iowa, and didn’t know what I was going to do on the way back up, but my Mother-in-law gave me another book to read and I started that one on the way home on Sunday and just finished it on Tuesday afternoon.
Reading a fiction book is like watching a movie for me. How many of you start a movie and then just watch a little bit and watch a little bit more the next day and the day after that?!? Not me! So it’s hard for me to put a book down. ;) But if I’m going to continue reading books right now I think I’m going to have to limit myself and start a timer or something. Like today, time got away from me....I finished the book, but really had other things I should have been doing instead. And then my mom showed up ready for me to take her to the airport and I was not feeling prepared because there were a few more things I had to do before I drove her up there. All because I had to finish my book. Oh well. It will still be worth it to be back into reading again. I realize how much I’ve missed it now.

I prefer reading fiction and getting into the story a little bit, but I do still like reading informational, helpful books too. I think for the next book, I’m going to go back to a John Grisham book. If you have an author that you love, feel free to let me know and I’ll give it a try. :)

No Music

Have you ever noticed that they don’t play music at Target? I didn’t really think about it before until TJ pointed it out to me. We just have a smaller Target in our town, and it’s not usually that crazy busy. When you go into the back right corner, there are not usually that many people back there if any, and that is when you can really notice that there is no music. Because you can’t hear anything. I mean nothing. It is so still and quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Kinda weird really.

I wonder what the Target workers think about this?

I don’t know of many other stores that don’t play music. I thought there was a psychological thing about the music that stores played. Like certain kinds of music entertain the brain and somehow encourage you to buy more, or make you feel more comfortable so that you don’t feel bad about spending money or buying stuff. I obviously don’t know for sure what I’m talking about because I’m no psychologist. :) But I thought there was something to that. Isn’t there?

Well maybe Target has some other plan....I’m not sure what that would be but they probably have their reasons.

I just couldn’t imagine working somewhere that they don’t have music to fill in some of those moments of silence. I mean when I was working at OfficeMax sometimes it got kinda old listening to the same music over and over again, but atleast it was something to fill in the dead space when no one was around.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

These are a home made treat. I got the recipe from a friend a long time ago. They are so good because they are moist, and the cream cheese on top is the best part of it. Sometimes I throw some extra chocolate chips inside the cupcakes too. In this batch I put chocolate chips in the last 12 and not the first 12. This can actually make like 40 cupcakes if you make them small. I just put a little more batter in each one this time to make them bigger and to have less trips to the oven. TJ wishes I would make them a little smaller though because that means there are more for him to eat. :)

8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp soda
1 cup oil
2 cups water
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
Mix filling and set aside. For batter, mix the dry ingredients together and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour batter into paper cup liners, 1/2 to 3/4 the way full, then spoon about 1 tbsp of the filling mixture on top of each. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Almost Always Open

TJ and I used to work in Ames, IA where this gas station is located. So this was not the first time we've seen this, but it still gets me every time. I mean couldn't they have thought of a better name than the Almost Always Open Gas Station?

This time I just happened to have my camera right by me, so I thought; I'm going to take a picture and blog about this. :)

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